Why pay for a Java Application Server

Rich Sharples, from over at the Sun Blogs, posted this oh so true entry discussing why someone should consider purchasing a J2EE application server versus simply choosing your favorite open source alternative…

Via Mirror World

One reason you would pay the license fee is because free can often be more expensive. Sounds silly ? Let me explain. The license cost is only a part of the price you pay for the App Server – someone has to manage it, fix it when it goes wrong, configure and tune it – all of these things require expertise and that’s not cheap – actually paying for a commercial product may sometimes be cheaper *if* it is easier to manage, tune, diagnose, etc. The machine you run the application server on – isn’t free, the power and HVAC it uses isn’t free, the real-estate it uses isn’t free. So performance is a really important factor regarding the real price. It doesn’t matter how free a free things is if it requires more hardware, power and rackspace to do the job – those additional costs will very quickly offset the freeness.

Also many comercial products contain features above and beyond what is mandated by the Java EE spec. (which, at the end of the day is predominantly a definition of a programming model). For example didtributed management, connectivity, clustering, monitoring and profiling – things that are typically important to Enterprise customers and features that are typically not addressed sufficiently well by free products today.

When people say that the J2EE (Java EE) App Server market has commoditized we have to be careful – what this really means is that the basic functionality defined by the spec. is freely available and that price is the primary basis for choice (vs. other differentiators such as features or brand) – vendors can and do offer features above and beyond which people are willing to pay for. Also note that even in the commoditized segment of the market – it is really about total cost (not just license cost) and it is therefore about performance, ease of use, reliability, etc.

Of course, I would respectfully disagree with his final paragraph (on his blog) about using Sun products, but that’s just the IBMer in me speaking…

À propos de Jean-Francois

Je travaille dans le domaine du web, je suis photographe à mes heures, et bientôt skipper de mon nouveau voilier!

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